Mr. Vampire

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Mr. Vampire

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There's nothing inherently scary about a vampire reduced to hopping around as if its legs were tied together, which is part of what makes the hopping-vampire sub-genre of Hong Kong films so entertaining. One of the best known, and previously hardest to find, 1985's Mr. Vampire has just been released on video, and it more than lives up to its reputation. Directed by Ricky Lau, who would go on to specialize in Hong Kong vampires, Mr. Vampire stars Lam Ching-Ying as a patient feng shui expert who finds himself and his two bungling assistants in a bind when they are plagued by the living dead after agreeing to re-bury the corpse of a wealthy man's father. Essentially, vampires in films like this are reduced to hopping around blindly in search of living people's breath, but Mr. Vampire plays fast and loose with these rules. Not that it matters: Never slowing down for long, Lau piles one comic and stunt-packed setpiece on top of another, blending horror, action, and humor, with an emphasis on the humor. (Still, anyone tuning in for kung-fu antics won't be disappointed.) For viewers who think they've seen it all, or anyone wondering where Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon came up with the notion of pairing martial arts and bloodsucking villains, Mr. Vampire is a must-see. Watching a hopping vampire may not be frightening, but there's nothing else like it.

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